Waltham Forest Council has today pledged better support to members of the gay community, after a study revealed they suffer harassment at the hands of local ethnic minorities.

The announcement came as the authority published a new report, which claims many LGBT residents deliberately modified their public behaviour to avoid the threat of harassment or personal attack from black and Muslim communities.

The report, which questioned 270 people – the largest LGBT-specific survey Waltham Forest Council has ever undertaken – also highlighted a lack of social and community venues for gay residents.

“Over the last few months, we have undertaken one of the largest surveys of its kind in the country, specifically targeting our LGBT community to find out how we can better support their needs,” said Cllr Marie Pye, Waltham Forest Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing.

Cllr Pye added: “We work hard in our schools and in the wider community to educate young people about celebrating differences, but perhaps we are not working hard enough to contact those who actually experience harassment. This report has helped to identify where we are falling short and we can now work to address those issues.”

As a result of the research, Waltham Forest Council is now developing plans to raise awareness of the borough’s hate crime incident reporting sites.

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